Feeds

Android - the winning formula for tablets and netbooks?

It's the only game in town, says the maker of the other iPad

Business security measures using SSL

The point here, though, is that a mass-market, small-footprint OS with a good range of applications to support it would fix many of these problems, and would be the only game in town aside from Apple. "Android will be mainstream, taking over a major portion of OS usage on devices intended to consume, rather than create, data," says Althaus. You could of course try doing this with Linux, but people have in the past, without creating significant ripples in the mass market (been there, done that).

The FLEPia e-book reader

Android also has a couple of advantages over Apple and Microsoft platforms. It's only one platform, whereas Apple has felt the need to take a 'fat iPhone' approach with the iPad. It is conceivable that Apple might, as some of the more impressionable public prints predict, produce a second impression of the iPad based on Mac OS X, but besides having the potential to confuse the issue, a Mac OS X device would face the same kind of problems as Windows-based tablets do.

Microsoft also has the twin OS problem, or possibly the triple or quadruple OS problem. CE? Windows Mobile? Windows? Windows for Netbooks? So many backs to guard, so little time...

Android on the other hand is essentially just one OS. Google has another one that might conflict, but that quite probably won't take with the manufacturers if it's too tied into the Google cloud.

Android is also sort of open source, but owned by a company that's started to express an ominous enthusiasm for forking. If Google were a wicked company capable of concocting and executing an evil master-plan, you could conceive of Android turning into a fairly standard, well-supported, semi-proprietary platform that bore a gently declining relationship to Linux. And there's quite possibly enough inertia there for this to happen even if (as The Register suspects) Google turns out to be pretty poor on the execution bit of the plan.

From the hardware manufacturers' point of view, however, this could actually be positive - they're not going to view open source as any kind of religious issue, they're just going to want something stable and predictable that minimises their own support costs, and allows them some measure of differentiation.

And did we mention that Android is free? In Althaus' view this will certainly be an advantage in the Netbook space, and the financial arguments here will likely apply for other devices (ie consumer handhelds and tablets) which are intended to be light, portable, cheap, second or third computer, frequently replaced. From the vendor's perspective, he points out, Netbook economics are a nightmare. "The product has a six month lifecycle, it comes out at $350, and it drops to $250 six months later. Form factor is the only thing you can play with, and if you do anything radical it adds cost."

So it's a low-margin, undifferentiated business that's hard to make money out of, but granted it's a market with continuing demand, a free OS is some help. Why is that any different from Netbooks running Linux? Standardisation, less of a support requirement for the hardware manufacturer, the magic of the Google brand? Possibly.

But the profit still vanishes when the competition hots up, and you're still left with a low-margin, undifferentiated business. Which gets you back to consumer market consumption devices and trying to make money out of the content, or - as Fujitsu has decided - out of consumer and into vertical markets, where you get higher margins on lower volumes, and you make some money out of services. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster
4 Minute Mile project hatched to speed up tired troops
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
Apple's Watch is basically electric perfume
It isn't just me-too Apple that's lost its lustre: Gadget mania is over
In a spin: Samsung accuses LG exec of washing machine SABOTAGE
Rival electronic giant tries to iron out allegations
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.